Good times may be over for Android

Michael Carroll
01 Aug 2012

Falling Android smartphone shipments in the US during 2Q12 suggests the good times may be over for Google’s platform, and also offers a good marker for trends in other developed markets.

Strategy Analytics states Google’s market share in the US fell four percentage points year-on-year to 56% in 2Q12, while Apple gained ten percentage points to hit a 33% market share in the recent quarter. Neil Mawston, executive director at the firm, says the decline could be a sign that Android sales growth is about to plateau.

Android remains the number one platform by volume in the United States, but its market share is approaching a peak and Apple iOS has been gaining ground,” Mawston explains.

The drop is perhaps more concerning given smartphone shipments in the US fell 5% year-on-year to 23.8 million units. Android shipments fell nearly two million in the recent quarter, while Apple shipments grew by the same amount to 7.9 million. Mawston predicts Apple will turn up the heat if rumors a new iPhone launch is imminent prove accurate.

Strategy Analytics’ figures also suggest a similar trend further down the league table, with RIM slipping from a market share of 11% in 2Q11 to 7% in the recent quarter. Senior analyst Scott Bicheno explains. “Consumers, businesses and operators continue to be frustrated by Blackberry’s limited touchscreen smartphone portfolio and repeated delays to its new BlackBerry 10 operating system.”

Bicheno has previously forecast Windows Phone will up its market share from 3% at end-2011, to 4% by end-2012, spurred by sales of Nokia and HTC devices. If the numbers add up, it will put more pressure on RIM and its long-delayed new operating system.

On the flip side, that same forecast also tips US smartphone sales to grow year on year through 2012. When balanced against the 2Q figures, that suggests a strong back half, and an opportunity for RIM and Google to mitigate the gains of their rivals.

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